Grace Kelly With Strings: At The Movies

Inspired by Charlie Parker With Strings, the American saxophonist plays music from films as various as High Society and E.T.


The principal performer on this album isn’t the artist latterly known as Princess Grace Of Monaco. Her admirers will recognise her as the person born (to Korean parents) in 1992 and christened Grace Chung. She became Grace Kelly when her mother was remarried (in 1997) to Robert Kelly who subsequently legally adopted Grace, giving her legitimate title to the name.

Anyone who shells out for this album will get their money’s worth, given that it weighs in at 72 and one half minutes and offers 16 tracks, virtually all of which were written for feature films. Kelly acknowledges her idolatry of Charlie Parker, and the present album was inspired by the Charlie Parker With Strings albums.

Ms Kelly, perhaps inadvisedly, performs vocals on four of the 16 tracks and co-arranged the last five. This emphasises her multi-talents; otherwise she confines herself to the four major saxophones – soprano, alto, tenor and baritone. Given that she made her first album aged 12 and that this is (at the age of 31) is her 15th, she can clearly play. However, to my mind she is dangerously close to becoming a Tubby Hayes clone i.e., all the technique in the world, but not even a scintilla of soul.

She has reached back some 88 years for the oldest selection, The Way You Look Tonight, and allowed the piano to weigh in with a decent break. She herself runs through it once-over-lightly, adhering fairly closely to the melody, albeit at a slightly faster, more swinging tempo than perhaps Mr. Kern intended. After that it’s pyrotechnics unlimited. She touches briefly on the 40s, (Pinocchio), and 50s (Moon River) and then devotes the remainder of the album to much later themes, which she contrives to render indistinguishable one from another. I have little doubt that mine is a minority opinion and that this album will please far many more than it disappoints.

James Bond Medley; He’s A Pirate; The Way You Look Tonight; Ennio Morricone Medley; True Love; Bossa Nova; Moon River; Mission Impossible Theme; The Flying Theme; By The Grave; The Power Of Love; When You Wish Upon A Star; I Wanna Be Like You; Go The Distance; Part Of Your World; Circle Of Life (72.31)
Kelly (v, ss, as, ts, bar, arr); Sean Jones (t); John Schroeder (g, elg); Cory Wong, Shaun Richardson, Pasha Riger (elg); Eli Bishop (g, bjo, mand, vn, via, clo); Tamir Hendelman (p); Cooper Appelt (b, elb); Jake Reed (d, pc); Steve C. Chiu, Haruka Horll, Camilla Miller, Grace Rodgers, Leah Zeger (vn); Lauren Elizabeth Baba, Halley Walterman (vla); Emily Nelson Rogers, Ro Rowan, Simone Vitucci (clo). Bryan Carter, Matt Wong, Steven Feifke, Kyle Gordon, Charlie Rosen, Joe Block (arr). Basshit Studios, Out Loud Studios, no location or dates supplied.
Pazz Productions